In May 1902, a 26 year old man by the name of

Benjamin Russell

began what was to become a worldwide brand with a mere 10 sewing machines and 8 knitting machines. This original mill produced ladies’ undershirts and children’s undergarments with a beginning capacity of 150 garments daily. In 1910, Russell Manufacturing Co. became an established business as well as birthing the sweatshirt. The sweatshirt was attributed to Benjamin Russell Junior, who was playing football at the University of Alabama at the time. Knowing the durability and comfort of cotton, he suggested to his father that an all cotton version of the original woolen football jersey be produced in order to avoid the chaffing and discomfort caused by sweating in wool. And so, the sweatshirt was born.

In the 1960’s, the

‘Athletic’ division

was the largest marketer and manufacturer of athletic apparel and uniforms in the USA, and by the 1990’s, Russell Athletic became one of the largest suppliers of athletic team uniforms in in Major League Baseball, NFL, college and high school sport programs through to little league.

As we celebrate over 100 years in business Russell Athletic looks to the future with the same sense of excitement and purpose that has driven the company since 1902 from sweet home Alabama.